Friday, February 8, 2013

What I like to read when I'm writing urban fantasy.

Inspired by the Author's Chat post on the weekend, as well as questions I've been getting from a couple of recent interviewers, I've decided to write a blog post based on the things I read when I'm writing my Shadows of Melbourne series.

In preparation for starting to look at a second draft of the third book Smoke and Mirrors and make my first steps on a draft for Harsh Light of Day, I currently have a copy of Patricia Briggs' Bone Crossed on my waiting-to-be-read pile.

Patricia's paranormal fantasy novels are like a breath of fresh air. The market is currently flooded with vampire novels and these novels stand out. If I could be seen to write like anyone out there in paranormal fiction right now, it would be Patricia Briggs.

The characters, the plots... I definitely have the feeling that I am standing right within the world she's created when I'm reading. I love the friends that her main character Mercy Thompson has, the way those friends complicate and enrich her life. I love that each single book plot wraps up, while still leaving the reader wanting to know what will happen next on the greater, overarching plot of the series.

Most of all, I like that someone else is writing these books, and I'm not the one who has to figure out what to write next.

From Booklist: In a world where witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people, it takes a very unusual woman to call it home...

I'm so looking forward to start reading it!!

I'm also pretentious (and academic) enough to have picked up another couple of books to flick through as I develop the vampire and werewolf plot lines in upcoming Shadows of Melbourne novels. The most instrumental texts I have on my shelf to that end are Our Vampires, Ourselves by Nina Auerbach and Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Auerbach's book is an amazing look at the history of the literary vampire, starting from Byron's vampire story begun on the same night as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The format of the old Gothic tales are looked at closely. Those tales aren't things I necessarily think about when I am writing, but reading through Our Vampires, Ourselves has given me some great ideas to do with a character who has only appeared peripherally so far in Gothic.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is a book I have picked up, put down, picked up again, put down, and never owned myself until running across it recently in a university book sale. I snatched it up immediately, determined to pick it up this time for more than a passing read. This book had been in my mind as potential insight into the deeper relationship between Dahlia and her adopted werewolf kin. The book is, of course, interesting for many other archetypal and societal reasons.

I've also received the link to a guest post I did a little while ago over at the Ramblings from this Chick blogspot. Feel free to go over there and have a look:

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